PaleoPot – Pine Nut Meatballs with assorted veggies and spinach – Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Recipe

This recipe is intended to be extremely flexible, an open-sourced meatball if you will. The only necessities are your ground meat of choice, pine nuts, and crushed/blenderized tomatoes


  1. One pound of ground meat of choice. Beef, veal, lamb, and even turkey work just fine. Simply a matter of personal preference.
  2. Two eggs, beaten (I pulse them for about 5 seconds in my Magic Bullet, emphasis on Magic)
  3. 1/2 cup of pine nuts (also known as Pignoli nuts)
  4. 1 to 2 cups of assorted grated or shredded veggies. I used a mixture of what I had in my veggie bin (cauliflower, zucchini, and red onion).
  5. 1 to 2 cups of crushed tomatoes.
  6. About 4 heaping handfulls of fresh spinach

Food Prep:

  1. Shred  or grate your assorted vegetable until you fill a small bowl with about 2 cups of a vegetable mixture. Hand toss well.
  2. Add in your 2 beaten eggs to the vegetable mix and stir well. Make sure the veggies are completely coated by the egg. Press this mixture down into the bowl and let it sit for a minute or two.
  3. Your shredded/grated vegetables and egg mixture should look something like this.


  1. Place ground meat of choice into a large mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to break it apart evenly.
  2. Add your egg and vegetable mixture to the ground meat. Time to get hands on. Use your hands to fully mix the ingredients. Roll the mixture over itself many times as if you were kneading dough. Press the mixture down into the bowl to form one large meat patty.

Time to roll your meatballs. I prefer to roll them to a size slightly larger than a golf ball. Make sure you cup your hands to make sure the meatballs are packed tightly.


  1. Use just enough of your crushed tomatoes to cover the bottom of your crock pot / slow cooker. You should only see red at the bottom now.
  2. Cover the tomatoes with 2 handfulls of spinach, you should now see only green at the bottom.
  3. Line your meatballs around the crock pot, they should be slightly touching the sides. Form a ring around the pot and place the extra meatballs inside to form a second ring.
  4. Spoon just enough crushed tomatoes to fill the small gaps between the meatballs. Do not cover the meatballs.
  5. Cover the meatballs with another 2 large handfulls of spinach, again you should only see green. Sprinkle any extra pine nuts on top of the Spinach.
  6. Place the cover on your crock pot / slow cooker and set the timer for 3 to 4 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.


This is always go-to recipe for me. Sometimes I make meatballs, other times I make a loaf. It’s really hard to choose the wrong vegetables to add in, and its a great way to use up some veggie bits before they go to waste. I am also a big fan of  pine nuts, and in this case they add a great textural component to something that is often a single consistency. Oh, and the spinach comes out lovely too. I bet you’ll eat the top layer before you plate the meatballs. Hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do!

As always, if you cook one of your recipes, plate it up and post a picture to our FaceBook wall:



  1. Jackie says:

    Loves this recipe. I added salt, pepper and thyme to the meatballs. I will definitely make this again and am going to try more recipes from your site. Thank you!

  2. anthony says:

    where do you utilize the pine nuts? in the recipe you on state to sprinkle extra pine nuts on top of the spinach. where do you initially use the pine nuts?

  3. Matthew says:

    Yes, where do we use the pine nuts? Are they in with the initial veggie and egg mixture?

  4. Robin says:


    In the pic, it look as though the pine nuts are in the veggie mixture?

    This is such a great and easy recipe, by the way! I love the integration of the veggies in the meatballs and the spinach! I will definitely be making this soon. Keep these great Paleo crock pot recipes coming!

  5. Jason says:

    Matthew – The pine nuts are part of the veggie mixture that gets mixed with the meat.

    Some extra nuts were added to the pot after that.

  6. Pam says:

    My meat and veggie mixture came out very wet so we added some almond meal to the meatballs to dry them up some. Definitely needs some additional spices…salt & pepper were added when finished, but still seemed like it needed something else. Good recipe though and I will def. make it again!

  7. Jami P says:

    My kids and I love this recipe! I am making it again tonight, but altered it a bit… I used 2lbs of beef, 1lb of pork, and 1lb of liver. We are trying to sneak some into our diets… I am scared of how it’s going to taste, I hope it’s good since I made enough to put in the freezer for another night! I also tried to stack the meatballs this time I will let everyone know how that goes as well!

    1. Dawn says:

      I’m very curious to hear how it went with the Liver? I am also wanting to know how to cook with Oregon meats?

  8. Yvette says:

    I made this last night and ate it again for breakfast this morning- it’s delicious! These are the changes I made- in addition to cooking it in the oven @ 350 for an hour because I was afraid the crockpot was too small since I doubled the recipe.
    I used 2lbs of meat- clean turkey and grass fed beef. I had carrots and broccoli in the fridge which I used in the egg mixture (doubled). I also added a bit of sea salt and italian seasonings. I used organic chunky tomato sauce- a whole large can as directed in the recipe.

  9. Daisy says:

    I wonder whats size of slow cooker? i have small slow cooker I got it for free gift.

    1. Jason says:

      My recipes are cooked in a 6 quart slow cooker. You can scale yours down in ratio to the size of your cooker.

  10. Sarah says:

    Made these for dinner last night. They were so delicious! The kids loved them, too. I will definitely make them again. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  11. Michelle says:

    Delicious! I added salt, pepper, basil and oregano. I used red pepper, onion, minced garlic and zucchini to the veggie mixture. Will definitely make again. Looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow.

  12. Terese says:

    Going to put this in the rotation next week! Sounds great, love the addition of spinach as well as the shredded veg to the meat itself. Great way to clean out your veggie drawer (as you mentioned) and add extra veg to your diet!

  13. Dawn says:

    Very excited to try a couple of your recipes!

  14. susi says:

    Made this yesterday! I followed another person’s advice of adding spices, but it was still a little bland. Next time I make this (because the ingredient combination and base recipe is great!), I’m going to pour BBQ sauce into the slow cooker as well so it’s more flavourful.

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